Alternative engines? - Ex-500.com - The home of the Kawasaki EX500 / Ninja 500R
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 8-6-2019, 6:56 PM Thread Starter
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Alternative engines?

Hi folks,
I have a very tired A (1987) model, which I need to do a fair amount f work on and I was wondering if anyone knows of potential engine alternatives? The current engine isn't worn out, but some of the peripherals are getting tired and need a refurb, so I thought it may be easier to swap something in.


Any ideas?

Cheers,
Craig.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 8-6-2019, 8:06 PM
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well you could get a V8 in there with a bit of welding. HA HA. no seriously it would be very difficult to do without a degree in mechanical engineering and fully equipped workshop to make custom parts.
there was a guy who fitted a 500 single 2 stroke for racing and one who made an electric bike. but those are one off's. there is very little in donor mechanicals that would make it worthwhile. and none are easy. you have to be careful of the domino effect. you modify one part then something else doesn't fit and so on like a line of domino's.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 8-6-2019, 8:16 PM
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You would be much better off swapping out for another EX500 engine with lower miles on it. By far the cheapest and easiest option. They can be had regularly for between $200-$400.
You can also rebuild the original engine, replacing all the worn out bearings, piston rings, valve seals, etc. However, that costs more. Between the bearings, rings and gaskets, it'll run you more than $600. I just finished a full rebuild on one and I don't recall the exact number, but my parts list for the engine alone was between $600 - $700 and that was with me cheating on a few parts as I had them in stock.

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 8-6-2019, 9:57 PM
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People have also installed Ninja 250 (Ex250) engines. Can rev to 14,500rpms all day long without worry.

My personal favourite small-bike engine-swap is RZ-350 2-stroke. Can still get brand-new parts since it's same as Banshee without power-valves. Heck, can build entire brand-new engine from aftermarket parts. Saves 50-lbs and starts at 60-bhp all way up to +100bhp.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 8-9-2019, 12:42 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone. The problem for me is that the EXs weren't imported for long into Oz, just a couple of years. It's near impossible to source much here any more. I like the RZ350 idea! I had a RD250/350 years ago and it went like stink, shame it didn't handle...



I was thinking along the lines of the 650 out of the ER6, perhaps? Not sure of the legalities, I'll have to look into it.

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 8-9-2019, 3:30 AM
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ER6 650 engine adds about 10 kg. More power combined with already shaky frame at speed will make scary package!
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 8-9-2019, 5:41 AM
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An easy swap would be an LTD454 or EN500 Vulcan engine. Same basic engine, but may have been imported longer or less costly as a unit. Am wondering what is so worn out? We have a member with 100K miles/160 Kilos on the bike. OK, lotsa maintenance, but you get the idea. If the compression is good and the cams and rockers are good, I would simply fix the small bits, prioritizing them. Any Kwacker triples lurking around OZ? That might be a first.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 8-9-2019, 11:54 AM Thread Starter
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I'm not really building for performance, the 500 engine gives enough for road riding and I'm pretty much over my boy racer days anyway! It's more about the project, really and making the thing more reliable. The extra torque would be handy 2-up as well.

Cheers,
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 8-9-2019, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
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I'm not sure why it's so badly flogged, mate, although I have no idea how much mileage is on it. The odometer shows 80000km, but I'm pretty sure it's been replaced, there's been a fair bit of work done on the plastics. I've had it for about 6 years and it started playing up in various ways almost immediately with starter and alternator issues and despite replacing the alternator with the later design single magnet rotor, the problems have just continued. It's not that bad, but since sourcing parts usually means going overseas, a small problem means weeks off the road. The chassis is fine, never a problem. It's time for either a new bike or a rethink. I quite like the way the thing rides, so it would be nice to give it some new life.

Cheers,
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 8-10-2019, 3:32 AM
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Charging/alternator problems are often the weak, overheating rectifiers used on these things. Could that be it? Which corner of OZ are you in? Are there any bike breakers there?

I finally figured out why I like Ducatis: With their exhaust note and dry clutch, they sound almost like a Guzzi!
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 8-10-2019, 6:47 AM Thread Starter
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I've been over the electricals with a fine tooth comb. It's not just that though, as I said, it's very hard to source parts, everything has to be imported and what you order isn't always what you get...


I'll probably end up doing a full rebuild. The fairing needs replacement as well, after a minor off a few months back and the timing chain and tensioner are well overdue. The valves are getting a bit tired as well.



Ah well, that's life with bikes, I guess. It might be time for something newer...

Cheers,
Craig.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 8-13-2019, 8:36 PM
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I've got all sorts of spare parts in my garage. It won't be the cheapest to ship out of the US, but medium size and smaller boxes aren't too bad to ship international through USPS. If you want, I can work with you on a comprehensive list of parts you need and come up with a very reasonable cost. I don't really need much in the way of money on my parts these days, just enough to compensate for the time spend gathering it all into one box, not to mention the beer I'll be drinking at the same time

I can also order OEM parts and stuff them into the same box if there's no dealers down there.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 8-13-2019, 8:56 PM
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yeah, USPS is great deal! I ship stuff to England and OZ regularly to in-laws.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 8-15-2019, 8:34 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saabnut View Post
I've got all sorts of spare parts in my garage. It won't be the cheapest to ship out of the US, but medium size and smaller boxes aren't too bad to ship international through USPS. If you want, I can work with you on a comprehensive list of parts you need and come up with a very reasonable cost. I don't really need much in the way of money on my parts these days, just enough to compensate for the time spend gathering it all into one box, not to mention the beer I'll be drinking at the same time

I can also order OEM parts and stuff them into the same box if there's no dealers down there.

Mate, that might be just what I need! Thank you. I'll pull the bike out and take another look at my options.

Cheers,
Craig.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 8-16-2019, 3:35 AM
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Hi Mate,


In Australia, you guys got a lot of the Kawa KLE500's.


They are a dual sport bike, and share the same engine as the EX-500.


I believe they had carburetor differences only, but do your own research on that.


Anyhow, that's a bolt in, no fuss engine that should be readily available to you in Aus.
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post #16 of 16 (permalink) Old 8-16-2019, 2:40 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Jackal, I hadn't thought of that angle. It might be the solution.

Cheers,
Craig.
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